Tourism businesses operating on public conservation land will have another six months of fees waived to help them adjust to the downturn in international visitors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced.
“We acknowledge it has been a difficult year for tourism businesses, many of whom continue to face major challenges due to fewer international visitors,” Dr Ayesha Verrall says.
“The fee waiver extension is about providing financial relief and support to around 1000 concessionaires and permit holders as the sector adapts to the extraordinary circumstances created by COVID-19.
“It is part of a wider recovery plan, and alongside our Jobs for Nature programme it represents a substantial investment in our tourism industry and the people employed in it.
“Concession fees support DOC’s vital work protecting Aotearoa’s special places and species.
“The waiver will be reviewed again later this year to either confirm the reinstatement of fees on January 1 2022, or provide a further waiver if extraordinary circumstances warrant it.
“For now, this decision provides certainty for operators as they plan for the year ahead,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
Businesses that have received the waiver to date, will continue to have fees waived until 31 December 2021.
When fees are reinstated DOC will continue to be flexible and provide payment options, such as deferred payment plans, for businesses who are struggling to pay their fees on time.